Care Act 2014 – Victory for asylum seeker
Date posted: 15 October 2015
Congratulations to our excellent Katy Robinson for winning the first judicial review challenge under the Care Act 2014.
This is brilliant and cutting edge legal work on behalf of a destitute and vulnerable asylum seeker.
The High Court handed down the decision in SG (a protected party by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v LB Haringey on 7th October 2015, following oral judgment on 4 August 2015.
You can read the full judgement here
SG, an asylum-seeker and survivor of torture, was accommodated by the Home Office in Haringey while her asylum claim was pending. She has significant mental health and physical health problems.
We argued that LB Haringey had a duty to accommodate her under the Care Act 2014 (and previously under s21 National Assistance Act 1948) due to her care needs.
LB Haringey argued that since the Care Act 2014 came into force on 1 April 2015, there was no longer a duty on local authorities in England to house asylum-seekers with accommodation-related care needs (as they previously was under s21). LB Haringey maintained that the legal tests for this from case law prior to the Care Act 2014, no longer applied.
On 4 August 2015, Mr John Bowers QC, sitting as Deputy Judge of the High Court, quashed LB Haringey’s assessment of SG’s needs under the Care Act 2014, on the grounds that the assessment was conducted without an independent advocate and that it had not adequately considered the possibility of a duty to provide accommodation to meet SG’s needs. A new assessment is now underway.
In the meantime, SG has been granted refugee status and is now accommodated by LB Haringey on an interim basis, following the termination of her asylum support.
Counsel was Jamie Burton at Doughty Street Chambers.
The case is now being widely reported in the sector – see for example Disability Rights UK.
Wilsons continues to campaign on behalf of vulnerable and destitute asylum seekers. Without access to the law their already dire situation would be even worse. We hope that local authorities will apply the judgement in SG. We would much rather see resources applied for care of asylum seekers rather than squandered in resistant and distressing litigation.